Team creating 2018 Journey to Excellence scorecards wants your brightest ideas

If you have a Fitbit, Garmin wearable or Apple Watch, you know that real-time tracking of your day’s movement can make you healthier and more active.

Think of the Journey to Excellence scorecard as an activity tracker for your Scout unit. Journey to Excellence, or JTE, gives you feedback on your Scout unit’s progress during the entire Scouting year.

Like a gourmet chef tweaking a signature recipe, the team behind JTE constantly improves requirements and scorecards to make them even more useful.

But they want your help.

Right now they’re working on the 2018 Journey to Excellence scorecards, which take effect on Jan. 1, 2018. Your guidance and feedback is welcome. Leave a comment below or email your suggestions to jte@scouting.org.

Wait … what’s JTE again?

JTE is the BSA’s tool for helping leaders plan their program, monitor progress and assess their Scouting success. There are separate scoresheets for packs, troops, teams, crews, posts, ships, districts and councils. You can access the 2017 scorecards here.

For more on what Journey to Excellence is and why should you care, read my Scouting 101 post. Here are some basic reminders.

Units are evaluated in four areas:

  • Planning and budget
  • Membership
  • Program
  • Leadership

Units score points in those areas; the sum of those points determines bronze, silver or gold status. Bronze is “effective,” silver is “excellent” and gold is “exceptional.”

The scoring ensures no one area is mandatory. Scouting success takes many forms, and JTE success employs a “balanced scorecard” as a result. The standards enable both large Scout units and small ones to succeed — as long as they provide good Scouting to youth.

Units that achieve JTE bronze, silver or gold can earn a ribbon for their unit flag, a plaque and a patch for their uniform.

How are JTE standards determined and revised?

Each June, leaders from all over the country meet to consider performance by units, districts and councils and recommendations for improvement. They look at performance during the year; analyze suggestions, questions and problems submitted during the year; and decide which requirements to change, if any.

Each year’s standards take effect on Jan. 1.

Any Scout leader, member or parent with a suggestion for improving the JTE scorecards should leave a comment below or send it to jte@scouting.org.

What’s new with JTE?

  • One key improvement for the 2017 JTE scorecards came from a Bryan on Scouting reader. Now, at any time, unit Key 3 and Key 3 delegate leaders can download all JTE values that are tracked nationally. Just to go my.scouting.org and click “JTE reports.” This report is updated daily.
  • Another improvement: There’s a new orientation video to help leaders use JTE to plan their annual program. Go to my.scouting.org, then click on “BSA Learn Center.”
  • The JTE team hopes to have JTE incorporated into Scoutbook by the end of 2017. This will help units plan and then track their program and their Scout’s progress throughout the year

Story idea via Neil Lupton, chairman of the national Journey to Excellence task force.